Heads Turn as ‘Emotional Support’ Alligator Taken for a Walk in Philadelphia

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
August 30, 2022Animal
Heads Turn as ‘Emotional Support’ Alligator Taken for a Walk in Philadelphia
A file image of an alligator seen in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Feb. 23, 2016. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

An “emotional support” alligator was seen in a park in Philadelphia on Friday, much to the joy of onlookers.

Images on social media show many Pennsylvanians in shock seeing the alligator, named “Wally”, on a leash at LOVE Park, officially known as John F Kennedy Plaza.

The five-foot reptile was unfazed by the attention and enjoyed the water fountains to cool itself off.

Wally was adopted in 2016 by a reptile enthusiast, Joie Henney, who owns multiple gators.

At the park, Wally had a leash attached to a red harness and at one stage a young girl was walking him through the water fountains.

Britt Miller, who was on a walk with her daughter, told the Philly Voice what she witnessed.

“We were just walking by LOVE Park and saw this kid playing with an alligator in the fountain,” Miller said.

“Of course, there was a ton of people around taking pictures. The girl seemed to be with her family, who were sitting off to the side. They were super friendly. People were picking up the alligator, petting it, all sorts of stuff.”

Posts she put on Twitter depict images of strangers petting, hugging, and picking up the reptile.

“It seemed totally calm, I guess, for an alligator, you know?” she said. “It wasn’t reacting at all.”

Wally once also played an important role in Henney’s recovery from depression.

“I went through a really hard depression and he brought me out of it,” Henney told the Beastly YouTube channel in 2020.

“My doctor wanted to give me anti-depression medicine and I refused to take it,” he said.

Henney decided to spend time with the alligator instead, something that he said others also appreciate.

“People they just enjoy seeing Wally and they just have a great time,” he said.

He has also owned other types of reptiles including lizards and even venomous snakes.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to financially assist Heney, who is currently battling cancer, and also for the expenses of his many reptilian pets.

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